Good luck and best wishes for the holidays,
Lets examine some facts:
1. foreclosures are running at numbers competitive with sales, 3500 to 4000+ a month. they are piling up in inventory and banks must sell them.
2. Jobs. Phoenix is losing jobs, 80,000+ so far and counting. People without jobs neither buy homes, nor continue paying mortgages or rent for long. this is extremeley bad for all aspects of real estate, and the effects have not played out yet. After all, it takes 9 to 12 months from a missed payment to a foreclosure. This will add to an already bad foreclosure problem'
3. state/county/city economy. ALL are in budget shortfalls, including 1.5 to 2 billion dollars for the state. There will be cuts in government speding, leading to more job losses (2) above, leading to more foreclosures (1) above. 2009 and 2010 are going to be pure hell in real estate, mark this post, and come back to is six months/twelve months from now.
Do yourself a huge favor, do not buy for at least a year.
Best of Luck and Happy Holidays....
You have received very good advice from all the agents who have commented on your question. I am in agreement that you should only be working with one agent. You should go ahead and interview several, but find the one you feel you can trust, has similar values, has your best interest in mind, and the one you feel will do the best job for you. When you meet that agent, you and your husband will know,
Also, as Carlos stated below, you can start looking at listings now in order to get a feel for the market, and what you can afford. Keep in mind that an average close takes 30-45 days from the time a purchase contract has been accepted, however, if you are looking at purchasing a pre-foreclosure (which there are many on the market right now), that process can take 6 months or more. We would have to know more about your situation to determine when to actually start showing you homes.
Nobody really knows when prices will hit bottom, just like nobody predicted that home prices were going to skyrocket from 2004 to 2006. All that I do know is it seems to be a great time to buy, and here are a few reasons why. One, you have thousands of homes on the market to choose from. Two, many people are in distressed situations and need to sell their home at discounted prices. Three, the interest rate on loans has significantly dropped over the past several weeks.
Feel free to contact us with any additional questions, and feel free to check out our website.
Troy and Mia Erickson
I think it is a good thing that you want a buyer's agent, and just as sellers have one agent helping them, buyers should also have only one agent helping them.
You should interview as many buyer's agents as you want until you get a good understanding of the market & what the different buyer's agents can do for you. Doing this will ensure that you found a "good agent." You should ask the buyer's agents how many buyers he/she has assisted and some references for you to contact.
Now is a good time to start gathering information. You should have your agent chosen by February/March 2009 & get very serious shortly after that. You will also want/need time to become familiar with the different areas of the Phoenix area, if you aren't already.
In some areas of the Phoenix area, I think prices area already at the bottom. When home prices are cheaper to buy an existing home than it is to build one, that's a good sign of the bottom. Most of my clients are buying homes this way. One of them was a 1300sf home where the land was valued at $42,000 & my buyer was able to purchase home and the land for $125,000 (meaning the home is actually being purchased for $85,000). And the home was move-in ready. Regardless of this, don't try to "time the market." You'll never know exactly when the bottom arrives until after the market starts to go back up. Consider the current recession we are in. It started in December 2007 & analysts couldn't determine their analysis until one year later.
I am a buyer's agent & I invite you to visit my site or to contact me directly to be interviewed.
Buyer's Agent REALTOR
Hiring two agents will not be on your or their best interest. If they are both good, you will probably be receiving the same properties from both, as both would have listen to you and send you the properties that match your criteria on your desired area.
Your best route is to hire an agent that at least is an ABR ("Accredited Buyers Representative") and knows the Chandler area. If for some reason he turns out to be a bad match for you, you can always talk to him - any good agent will agree to sever the relatiioship so you can find a better match.
When to start looking at houses depends on how flexible you are. If you need to close in June, you will need to write a contract in/around May - given the fact that it takes about 30 days to close and most sellers prefer to stay within that range. Asking for a longer closing will put you in a disadvantage, and many sellers will not accept a closing longer than 45 days.
Any good agent can start sending you listings now so you can have an idea on how the market is behaving and what is available for the money. But if you need to close in June I will hold the showings for now - unless you are flexible and can buy earlier. Good properties go quickly and the good options/deals that are available now will be gone by May - but new ones will be available :)
As to when the market will hit bottom, the short answer is no one knows for sure. We will only know it after it has passed. Some experts say that we are on it, some others say that it will still take some time!
I am an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and live and work in the Chandler area. It will be my pleasure to help you and your family with your search. Please visit my website for more information.
There's no reason you can't interview buyer's agents to determine who you'd like to work with. Ask them about lenders, inspectors, their knowledge of the area, termites, scorpions, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and whatever else is on your mind. Ask them to show you a contract, to see the buyer's advisory, and to discuss their negotiating philosophy.
But in the end, i think you are better off settling in on one agent. If multiple agents are aware there is an ongoing competition, what I would fear for you is too much sales pressure. Each agent will feel the pressure to try to sell you a house today, on this trip, right now, let's sign...you get where I'm going.
Push that pressure to the beginning of the process, and then once you get past it, I think you'll have a much more enjoyable home buying experience. And honestly, buying a house should be tons of fun. It's so cool to move into a new house, why add undo pressure?
From what we can tell we are at the bottom of the market it has been declining for 3 years now. I have witness homes selling for half of what the were in the height of the market. With that said it is an excellent time to start looking if you find an awesome deal I think it may be missed in 6 months or less.
Maybe you could interview your agent and ask for referrals from past clients.
A good agent works hard for thier clients!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!
It's confusing enough using one agent to find and purchase a home let alone 2. You might conflicting information leaving you completely confused. Try and interview the agents first then select one and start the process.
You need to start a conversation with the agent you choose and openly discuss the market and so on at that time.
You're going to get a lot of responses to this question so get ready for an on slaught of answers.
If you need help rising above the murky waters, I would love to help.
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Keller Williams - Scottsdale, AZ
2008-2009 Master of Real Estate award recipient
ABR, GRI, ePro, CNE, MRE, AHWD